The strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is taking its toll on operations of hospitals and medical centres across the country.
As the national strike called entered the second day on Tuesday, patients had a rough deal as activities and services at various public hospitals across the country continued to be disrupted with many rendering only palliative services.
The National President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, announced the strike on Saturday in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, at the end of the association’s National Executive Council meeting.
He cited the Federal Government’s failure to implement the agreements it entered with the union 113 days after it suspended the previous strike.
Okhuaihesuyi also blamed the poor working conditions in public hospitals, irregular payment of doctors’ salaries and hazard allowances of N5,000 monthly, which was reviewed last in 1991.
According to him, NARD members were yet to be enrolled in the integrated personal payroll information systems meant to prevent salary shortfalls due to an embargo from the Head of Service of Federation.
The association said only one of 19 families of doctors who died while treating COVID-19 patients had received their death-in-service insurance.
He accused Minister of Health, Dr Ehanire Osagie and Minister of Labour and Employment Dr Chris Ngige, of not keeping their words.
Many patients were ejected from hospitals across the country as the doctors stayed away. While some members of management of some hospitals have taken to rendering appeals over the strike, the striking doctors have also insisted they would not succumb to threats until government meets their demands.
At the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, patients waited endlessly for doctors to attend them even as the few consultants available were overstretched.
In a reaction, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Professor Darlington Obaseki noted: “We have consultants who are trying to keep things going but they are quite fewer than the resident doctors but we are hoping that the strike will not last so normal services can resume in the hospital.”
President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), UBTH, Dr Ifeanyi Ufuani said other cadres of doctors such as consultants were on ground, but the resident doctors constitute about 80 percent of the workforce.